Teachers and students of Delhi University (DU) are angry over the expected implementation of the University Grants Commission’s Office Memorandum (OM)—issued earlier this year by the Department of Expenditure, Ministry of Finance—whose provisions say that the government’s share of funding universities and colleges affiliated to the UGC will not exceed 70%. The rest 30% of funds will have to be generated “internally” by the institutes themselves for implementation of the Seventh Pay Commission recommendations.
Recently, the UGC had written to principals of all DU colleges directing them to calculate their “internal resources”. Government-funded institutes, including universities and colleges, “are expected to be financially self-sufficient so as not to cause any extra burden on the Central exchequer”, the UGC letter said.
Commenting on the move, A.K. Bhagi, head of the National Democratic Teachers’ Front (NDTF), the teachers’ wing of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in DU, said: “This is contrary to what Union Human Resource Development (HRD) Minister Prakash Javadekar had stated in our last meeting. He had categorically said that the circular capping the government’s share of funding is not for Central universities as they don’t have earnings. The NDTF will take up this issue on an urgent basis with the MHRD as it seems that some babus are playing tricks. Under no circumstances will the university community accept such a proposal.”
Earlier this year, the Ministry of Finance had said that autonomous institutions would have to bear at least 30% of the additional expenditure on account of implementation of revised scales under the Seventh Pay Commission.
The government is yet to notify the Seventh Pay Commission package for university and college teachers, but it is likely to increase basic salaries by 15-20%. Rajesh Jha, general secretary of Delhi University Teachers’ Association (DUTA) and Executive Member of DU, said: “The DUTA will not accept such an attack on Central universities in general and DU in particular. The move to cap funding will surely boost private institutions and adhocism. DU has almost half its staff working on an ad hoc basis; in such a situation, cap in funding will further worsen the situation.”
“The move will further widen the existing gap between the privileged and under-privileged students, and deprive the latter of affordable higher education. It might also lead to student unrest, just like Panjab University witnessed recently,” Jha added.
In admission forms this year, a few DU colleges had sought details of the fee structure in the last institute that prospective aspirants had attended. According to an official of the Dean of Students Welfare office, a few colleges have come up with the idea of keeping a “separate fee structure”—one for those who can afford and concessional fees for students of weaker sections.
Expressing his disappointment at the growing adhocism in DU, Brij Mohan Bhalla, former Principal of Dayal Singh College, said that the cap in funding to Centrally assisted institutions will leave them with no other option but to increase fees and “create a class”. Cap in funding will add more adhoc teachers to the university.”
Meanwhile, students’ leaders have also threatened that they will fight any “anti-student” move like hike in fees. Shreerang Kulkarni, national media head of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), said: “Our organisation will agitate against any fee hike in DU. ABVP will ensure that DU colleges don’t increase fees.”